Third Space presents Asbjørn Skou’s solo exhibition Terminal Infrastructure – An exhibition about synthetic landscapes, future archaeology and the periphery of urban planning, constructed around J.G. Ballard’s novel The Terminal Beach. The exhibition consists of video, photography, installation and collage.
“The landscape is coded. Entry points into the future = Levels in a spinal landscape = zones of significant time.
…The island inverted the geologist’s maxim ‘the key to the past lies in the present’. Here the key to the present lay in the future. This island was a fossil of time future, its bunkers and blockhouses illustrating the principle that the fossil record of life was one of armour and the exoskeleton. “ (J.G. Ballard, The terminal beach. 1964).
A reconstructed excavation in a meta landscape, somewhere between inner and outer realities. On the outskirts of the planned and constructed environment, between the extremes of creation and decomposition. Between premonition and oblivion. This is the Staggering Territory. A zone of synthetic contexts and suspended time. An “other” place where one has to seize the world anew, as a scavenger, using present findings and fragmented memories. A liminal space where actual objects become fictional strata. An uninhabitable habitat, like a fossil of the present, or ruins from the future. (Asbjørn Skou 2014)
The exhibition takes the classic J.G. Ballard story from 1964, and imposes this as science fiction schema, on aspects of the urban environment surrounding us today. In J.G. Ballard’s short story, a man attempting to escape from a personal trauma, finds, or rather doesn’t find, himself on a manmade concrete island. The island, a former nuclear test site, is abandoned and resembles a post-apocalyptic vision. Between the decaying infrastructure and almost alien concrete buildings, his mental and physical decline escalates in correlation with the decay of the environment around him. His inner trauma and the outer trauma of the architecture fuses into a peculiar zone of non time, a conflation of past, present and future. The island becomes a historical, architectural and psychic zero. A synthetic landscape resembling an inner state of compulsory repetition, erosion and erasure.
Parallel with the main character in the short story, the works of the exhibition move ambiguously between inner and outer realities. Dystopic, poetic and graphic. On different levels the exhibition comments on the architecture and city planning that surround us. All of the works share a reference point in the construction and dissolution of built environment. From fictionalized archaeology in modern ruins to rudimentary scale models and collages depicting collapsing spaces – constructed from digitally generated architectural plans. The exhibition suggests a future archaeological ground, constructed from fragments of a psychosphere of infrastructure – one that has been plunged, catastrophically, into a state of geographical and chronological abjection. The works attempt to generate ways of looking at conscious as well as unconscious mental processes, by way of geography and spatiality.
Asbjørn Skou is a visual artist based in Copenhagen.
He works within a wide range of media creating artworks that serve as a form of spatial research and communication. His work is concerned with investigating the intersections between architecture, culture, power and memory. The work is often documentary in that it is rooted in observation and intricate research, but he restates this research by assembling it in the space between fact and fiction, thus creating new and ambiguous mythologies from concrete spatial and cultural constructions.
His work is concerned with questions of how we use the city, and how spatial identity is formed (and dissolved), and how this gives shape to architectural, social and ideological space.
Asbjørn Skous focus is equally engaged with the possible mythologies connected to a certain concrete infrastructure, as well as with questions of how socio-political codes are formed through our surroundings.
He is particularly occupied with those liminal spaces that are both part of and falls outside of city planning – those spaces that are at once invisible and transitional spaces, that can be seen as vessels for the way we perceive and remember. Objects and places that may act as focal points between the material and the immaterial, in a borderland of the conscious and useable.
Asbjørn Skou graduated from the Academy of Art in Bremen, Germany in 2009. He has created a substantial amount of works in the public space, as well as exhibited on a large scale within museums and galleries in Europe and the United States.